Tuesday, 21 October 2014

picturesque scenery

@cliffs of moher

i won't be complaining about the weather at all.
it's just windy and cloudy, not raining. so there's not much to complain about.

in the end, there was for a very brief while, it got all cleared up. i could stand there forever to see the waves washing ashore, if i don't get blown off the cliff into the atlantic ocean.

Monday, 20 October 2014


on an autumn afternoon @ St. Stephen's Green in Dublin.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

sans titre

my friends who were here on expat packages were sent back home to germany, the US, france etc. germany and japan are the two largest countries who send expats to live in shanghai. (source: unknown, but i did read about it somewhere in the paper) so far i have heard quite a few friends' kids who go to international schools busy attending farewell parties.

this, as i see it, is a signal of slowing down of the economy. although it is still generating much growth (~7.5%), the rate of growth has not been double digits as we have seen couple of years ago. 

there's also a very strong signal sent by the government of this anti-corruption campaign. extra measures had been taken to ensure that all's clear about this message. you should see how cautious the civil servants have become these days at business dinners. in some areas, things are getting tougher, too. e.g. getting permits, grants... but i do think it as a positive thing. at least it is starting to change.

other than that, doing business is getting much harder AND much easier these days. e-business is clearly the thing to do, but if you start now, you've already missed the opportunity to gain big bucks. 

what's coming up next is unknown, but i am sure with the rise of the post-90s, there must be newer, more exciting and creative things. it's only how you seize the opportunity and best utilise it when it does come.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

vive le FIFA!

i totally stayed up for the french game last week.
it was so AWESOME!
i have high hopes for les bleus this time!

check out today's google doodle.

Saturday, 31 May 2014



早上在beer garden喝了一升啤酒後,就搭上地鐵,結果兩人因為太睏坐過了站(你懂的)。就近下車後已經到了Olympiapark, 繼續與眼睏君周旋的兩個人看見綠油油的草坪就像看到一張偌大的席夢思床墊⋯一倒兩小時⋯



Saturday, 17 May 2014

how smart is your phone in the big6 context

it felt that time was still when i lived in sheepland. everything moves at its own pace.
people actually take breaks from work, from life, from taking a break...

but here in big6, everything moves so quickly that if you're not always running along, you'd be out within a very short time period. 

it all sounded very scary before i actually lived here, but now i can tell you, the above statement is true.

well, if you are about to relocate to big6 and come across this piece, here's some of my personal experience...

1. w3ch@t 
yes i know what you think - cheap copy cat of whatsapp, and maybe you're a fan of line, thinks that it lacks imagination with so limited choices of emoticons.
a) it serves more than a tool for communications. everything whatsapp has, like audio, video calls. the newer version enables you to make calls for free via this app like what line offers.
b) it functions as a "google reader". you can subscribe an official account, messages get pushed to your subscribed service account. but the good thing is, if you don't want to read it, you can just leave it there. well, if you have OCD, then you might have a slight problem there.
c) it functions as a shopping/service portal. you can subscribe to your bank portal, your favourite shop portal, then it provides you automated services, instantaneously. you don't even have to turn on your computer to do your online banking. or download a standalone app from the bank. i have this SF express account, it tracks all my parcels and tells me where my parcel is when it gets scanned en route to the destination. when the parcel is about to arrive, it shows a picture of my parcel courier man... 
d) photo sharing functions. this is much like instagram in a way. but it gets annoying when you need to group different people for different content broadcasting. still a good socialising tool if you like sharing pictures of food before you actually eat.

2. taob@o
man, it's like my best friend. even more so than ebay. with taob@o, you can get all sorts of things from all over the world. did i mention that now i get my snacks straight from japan without even walking out of my office/apartment?
anything you can imagine, you can get it off tb. we even bought a full size foosball table off tb. Yes the same kind Joey Tribianni from "friends" had in his apartment.
i even got my broken blackberry fixed via a tb seller! he runs a shop that repairs only blackberry - a real fan that, i tell you.
you will ask how you know what you're buying if you haven't seen them. well, there's always reviews and comments you can read, and ratings. if you are not satisfied, you can always return and ask for refund. 
competition on tb is fierce. so fierce that one bad rating you gave, would lead to a few calls from the customer service reps calling to ask nicely about exchanging for free with no charges for shipping. things like that...

3. @lipay
again, chinese version of paypal, but like the previous 2, absolutely no extra charges! what's more than that, you can do literally everything using @lipay. it even hooks you up to a small investment tool which generates about 4% annualised interest rate...the central bank is not happy with it, so the interest rate is getting lower and lower... but still, the imagination of creating such a thing, is so chinese. how it works is to raise fund through @lipay, you put a deposit, say 100 rmb, then @lipay, as a platform, gathers all these funds together to invest in hedge funds etc. you will get a payback on a daily basis. e.g. 15 cents (may not be the actual number). then it accumulates depends on the performance of the investment. i admire the entrepreneurial spirit of the people behind this thing.

4. did1
it's an app that helps you to book cabs in advance. you would say that this kind of app already exists elsewhere. true, but the good part of this is that if you have a successful ride, you can get 5 rmb refund upon making the payment, the cab driver upon completing one ride also gets a subsidy of 10 rmb for using this app. they have burnt 200 million rmb on "subsidising" the users. but everybody has been using it. a good way to save money. although it also creates problems for certain groups of people, the elderlies who need a cab but don't have a smartphone, or have smartphones but without such app installed, and those who refuse to use smartphones.
come to this point, app number 1 also has a function of cab-booking service, i haven't used it, so...

the above 4 are the most frequently used apps on my phone. and oh, let's not forget the AQI index app. well, it just makes you feel more depressed reading the numbers... but better knowing than not. the only drawback is that i stopped jogging after the installation, the air quality is appalling, i can't kill myself like that. i had this burning feel in my throat when i tried to breathe... so, no more outdoor jogging. no gym either. 

oh well, i've planned to write something about this for a while. now here they are, maybe they will come in handy someday. or have your fingers crossed that you will not. ever. (smirk)

Thursday, 8 May 2014

the long overdue pictures~

it wasn't until when i was revisiting my old posts from last year, i remembered that i've promised to share some pictures of miss z's wedding.

so here they are, a very small portion. she's now having a great time (feeling a bit upset about the weather) in Munich, possibly eating a kurrywurst with a beer sitting by the chinese tower in the english garden.

i'll leave it up to her for sharing some of her trips in the big old europe.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Earth Day 2014

took the metro to work for Earth day.
friggin crazy. so packed can't even breathe. need to take more public transportation to get used to it.
though i really think that the infrastructure needs a good evaluation... what's a reasonable capacity of a city of this size (land/population ratio?)... or maybe it's not really possible for asian countries. 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

sans titre

keage, kyoto.
4 apr 2014.

you really should see how beautiful it was, when all the petals were flying in the air. words cant describe, pictures are not powerful enough to express it. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Sunday, 23 February 2014


this is not my new year's resolution, but i really need to note down my japan trip last year... before my next trip planned for april this year.
so here's my rambling thoughts.

our trip was well planned - by my friends, miss i. thanks to her that i didn't have to worry about my day-time activities as we have a very detailed programme ready, printed out! she also got a guidebook for this trip which she carried with in her backpack everyday. it was no easy job. you should know how thick the book was...it was literally like carrying half kilo of sand...

thanks to the weather, my memories of all the places that we went to were all picture-perfect. clear blue sky and long white clouds. apart from the heat, it was all great.

so the trip started in kyoto, where enjoyed authentic japanese food, kyoto style. especially the very famous locally grown veges. the ones you see at nishiki market are perfect examples but minus all the preparation work. japanese people are so serious about presentations. everything looks so perfect and artistic.

all the basic points are skipped here, you can find gazillions of books/articles written about the wonderful old capital of japan. let's not bore you with repetitive information.

before our nara trip, there was a stopover in fushimi inari and took an unusual route where nobody did. it was such an amazing walk. tiring, yes. but you got to see the residents in the local mountains. the old little shops, the lazy black cats lying on the floor under the sun. the polite postman passing by on a bike, the beautiful wild flowers in between tombstones. it was well worth the effort and energy even though we got so exhausted.

since then, we started taking "unusual routes" to avoid big crowds of tourists.

when we arrived in nara by train with big suitcases, it still didn't get much cooler, didn't feel one bit like we were in autumn already. the weather was so fine that i could just lie on the bench to get roasted for the rest of the day. we hopped on our rented bikes and began our adventure. riding bikes was all new experience again. the last time that i rode bikes was in paris with my friend along shadowed avenues by the musee rodin in chilly autumn 2 years ago.

the uphill ride wasn't easy but we were running on a tight schedule as we just left kyoto and would be leaving for wakayama the same night, we didn't have too much time planned for nara. all we wanted was to see the deer and feed them senbai. kasuga taisha was tucked away in a very quiet area, although still popular among tourists, it attracted much fewer foreigners. as we were being super impressed and having fun taking pictures of a gigantic tree, there was an old man talking to us. 

i didn't speak a word of japanese, so my friend had to listen hard. he was just casually sitting by one of the shrine/temple like building, leaning against the wall. just an ordinary looking old guy. nothing special at all. he blahed away while snapped a twig in half and passed us the twigs. "smell it, try", he was telling us. woah, the aroma of the broken twig smelled nothing like what i imagined a piece of wood would smell like. i don't have the words for it but it was like sandal wood or agar wood. we asked what this twig was, he pointed to the big gigantic tree of which we were taking pictures! wow! that's amazing. we really wanted to know what this fragrant piece of wood is, but could not understand such specific jargon. well, this is where my phrasebook kick in useful! i quickly found the page asking people to write things down, he then wrote a kanji that we understood. 楠. argh~ we all smiled and nodded along, followed by more botanic questions from my friend...

he then led us to the back of the shrine, moved aside the dangling vines and leaves, showed us something that's really cool. stone lanterns made of marbles! we were told that these were only original marble stone lanterns made in the old times left in japan. all these good marble ones were taken away to tokyo by the rich and famous. these were the only old and originals left, now hidden behind big tall trees. nobody would ever see them if it wasn't because of the guy. this was such a wonderful story from him and we even got to know what the gigantic tree was! yes, i asked if we could take the twigs home with us. and now it's  safely tucked away, hidden among my books.

this was the first couple of cute stories happened in nara. oh, did i forget mentioning my map got eaten by a deer? i was trying so hard to take it back, but was so scared of the aggressive animal. and in the end, a laughing foreigner took a picture of me, trying to pull a half-eaten map out of a deer's chewing mouth. 

NOT a pretty picture. NO.

- part 1 ends - 

now reading